portable external 5.25" floppy disk drive - CP/M

This is a discussion on portable external 5.25" floppy disk drive - CP/M ; Hi, Recently there was a long thread here on the desire for a USB external 5.25" floppy disk drive. I do not have one of those, however, I did find in my stack of stuff a portable external 5.25" floppy ...

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Thread: portable external 5.25" floppy disk drive

  1. portable external 5.25" floppy disk drive

    Hi,

    Recently there was a long thread here on the desire for a USB external
    5.25" floppy disk drive. I do not have one of those, however, I did
    find in my stack of stuff a portable external 5.25" floppy disk drive
    made by "CMS Enhancements". It is model EF360U and is available on
    the surplus computer equipment market.

    http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=EF3...p=mss&ei=UTF-8

    My drive has what *APPEARS* to be a parallel port interface. I am not
    100% certain as it could be a proprietary interface (card required) or
    it may even be SCSI. I do not have the documentation nor do I have
    the drivers for this drive. If anyone has the drivers or manual
    please post them or send them to me, I would greatly appreciate it and
    will help with the investigation as to whether this part would serve
    the need requested earlier.

    I removed the case from my drive and it is a simple TTL circuit board
    comprised of about a dozen 74xx type chips (markings were painted
    over) interfacing directly to a standard DSDD floppy disk drive (48
    tpi, I think). I believe it would lend itself to some simple reverse
    engineering but I am not volunteering since my plate is already full.

    It appears to be parallel port based although I am concerned about
    drawing enough power from a parallel port to supply a floppy drive, I
    do have another 3.5" Imation SuperDrive which is parallel port powered
    in the same fashion so it is at least *theoretically* possible at
    least in my mind. While not USB based, a parallel port solution would
    be nearly as good, I think, since it is one of the most commonly
    available ports on computers, at least all the ones I have seen.

    Again, if anyone has one of these drives or buys one in the near
    future, please post the drivers (or send me copy please) and the
    manual if possible. I am especially interested if this drive is in
    fact interfaced to the PC parallel port.

    Thank you.

    Andrew Lynch


  2. Re: portable external 5.25" floppy disk drive

    lynchaj@yahoo.com wrote:
    Andrew Lynch wrote:

    >> My drive has what *APPEARS* to be a parallel port interface.


    Be careful when connecting such a drive to a parallel port!
    I know of at least one vendor (the Dutch Tulip Computers) that made external
    5.25 inch diskette drives for some of their 286 laptop model, with DB25
    connectors, but with a pin-out very different from a parallel port.

    Regards,
    Freek.
    email: f.heite ATT hccnet DOTT nl

  3. Re: portable external 5.25" floppy disk drive

    On Tue, 14 Aug 2007 21:31:55 GMT, me@privacy.net (Freek Heite) wrote:

    >lynchaj@yahoo.com wrote:
    >Andrew Lynch wrote:
    >
    >>> My drive has what *APPEARS* to be a parallel port interface.

    >
    >Be careful when connecting such a drive to a parallel port!
    >I know of at least one vendor (the Dutch Tulip Computers) that made external
    >5.25 inch diskette drives for some of their 286 laptop model, with DB25
    >connectors, but with a pin-out very different from a parallel port.


    Or like the FDC (ISA 8bit) for older PC that has a DB25 on the rear
    for an external drive that is otherwise vanilla disk IO save for the
    use of DB25.

    Allison

    >
    >Regards,
    >Freek.
    >email: f.heite ATT hccnet DOTT nl



  4. Re: portable external 5.25" floppy disk drive

    On Aug 14, 4:19 pm, no.s...@no.uce.bellatlantic.net wrote:
    > On Tue, 14 Aug 2007 21:31:55 GMT, m...@privacy.net (Freek Heite) wrote:
    > >lync...@yahoo.com wrote:
    > >Andrew Lynch wrote:

    >
    > >>> My drive has what *APPEARS* to be a parallel port interface.

    >
    > >Be careful when connecting such a drive to a parallel port!
    > >I know of at least one vendor (the Dutch Tulip Computers) that made external
    > >5.25 inch diskette drives for some of their 286 laptop model, with DB25
    > >connectors, but with a pin-out very different from a parallel port.

    >
    > Or like the FDC (ISA 8bit) for older PC that has a DB25 on the rear
    > for an external drive that is otherwise vanilla disk IO save for the
    > use of DB25.
    >
    > Allison
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > >Regards,
    > >Freek.
    > >email: f.heite ATT hccnet DOTT nl- Hide quoted text -

    >
    > - Show quoted text -


    Allison, Freek,

    All very good points which is why getting the technical manual of this
    product is so important to assess whether it could be a viable
    solution to the portable external 5.25" external drive request. I do
    not know for certain it is a parallel port only that it appears to be
    one. Certainly, it is possible but without the manual we cannot know
    for certain.

    If it requires a proprietary card or even a SCSI port the EF360U is a
    non-starter since it would require openning chassis etc. I am hoping
    this product would work with the plain parallel port. I think since
    the interface is so simple and directly connecting to the floppy drive
    connector that it would be flexible to allow special formats to be
    read with the drive. Of course, special driver software would have to
    be written but that was part of the original request anyway with the
    USB solution.

    Thanks!

    Andrew Lynch


  5. Re: portable external 5.25" floppy disk drive

    On Aug 14, 5:06 pm, lync...@yahoo.com wrote:
    > On Aug 14, 4:19 pm, no.s...@no.uce.bellatlantic.net wrote:
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > > On Tue, 14 Aug 2007 21:31:55 GMT, m...@privacy.net (Freek Heite) wrote:
    > > >lync...@yahoo.com wrote:
    > > >Andrew Lynch wrote:

    >
    > > >>> My drive has what *APPEARS* to be a parallel port interface.

    >
    > > >Be careful when connecting such a drive to a parallel port!
    > > >I know of at least one vendor (the Dutch Tulip Computers) that made external
    > > >5.25 inch diskette drives for some of their 286 laptop model, with DB25
    > > >connectors, but with a pin-out very different from a parallel port.

    >
    > > Or like the FDC (ISA 8bit) for older PC that has a DB25 on the rear
    > > for an external drive that is otherwise vanilla disk IO save for the
    > > use of DB25.

    >
    > > Allison

    >
    > > >Regards,
    > > >Freek.
    > > >email: f.heite ATT hccnet DOTT nl- Hide quoted text -

    >
    > > - Show quoted text -

    >
    > Allison, Freek,
    >
    > All very good points which is why getting the technical manual of this
    > product is so important to assess whether it could be a viable
    > solution to the portable external 5.25" external drive request. I do
    > not know for certain it is a parallel port only that it appears to be
    > one. Certainly, it is possible but without the manual we cannot know
    > for certain.
    >
    > If it requires a proprietary card or even a SCSI port the EF360U is a
    > non-starter since it would require openning chassis etc. I am hoping
    > this product would work with the plain parallel port. I think since
    > the interface is so simple and directly connecting to the floppy drive
    > connector that it would be flexible to allow special formats to be
    > read with the drive. Of course, special driver software would have to
    > be written but that was part of the original request anyway with the
    > USB solution.
    >
    > Thanks!
    >
    > Andrew Lynch- Hide quoted text -
    >
    > - Show quoted text -


    Hi,

    http://groups.google.com/group/comp....2774829a023d98

    If I may be so bold as to make a suggestion to the original requestor
    of the USB external 5.25" floppy disk drive; if it was worth it to you
    to hire someone to make the product from scratch, maybe it would also
    be worth it to you to invest in one of these EF360U external floppy
    drives to investigate whether it would be close enough for your
    needs. Even posting the information on the EF360U would help me and
    other people here evaluate if this product is feasible or a practical
    solution for your needs.

    I believe the EF360U drives are available on the used computer
    equipment market for reasonable amounts (less than $100). Yes, it is
    taking a bit of a risk but if it works out it would be MUCH cheaper
    than paying for a hardware and software development effort of a USB
    external floppy drive.

    http://www.google.com/search?sourcei...LA:en&q=EF360U

    Thanks!

    Andrew Lynch

    PS, It is just a suggestion, please do not take offense. None is
    intended from me.


  6. Re: portable external 5.25" floppy disk drive

    On Tue, 14 Aug 2007 23:19:17 GMT, no.spam@no.uce.bellatlantic.net
    wrote:
    >
    >
    > On Tue, 14 Aug 2007 21:31:55 GMT, me@privacy.net (Freek Heite) wrote:
    >
    >>lynchaj@yahoo.com wrote:
    >>Andrew Lynch wrote:
    >>
    >>>> My drive has what *APPEARS* to be a parallel port interface.

    >>
    >>Be careful when connecting such a drive to a parallel port!
    >>I know of at least one vendor (the Dutch Tulip Computers) that made external
    >>5.25 inch diskette drives for some of their 286 laptop model, with DB25
    >>connectors, but with a pin-out very different from a parallel port.

    >
    > Or like the FDC (ISA 8bit) for older PC that has a DB25 on the rear
    > for an external drive that is otherwise vanilla disk IO save for the
    > use of DB25.
    >

    I had a Toshiba laptop which had a BIOS setting to use the parallel port
    for a printer or a floppy drive. Also, the TRS-80 Model 100 used a
    floppy drive with a 25-pin serial interface. The serial port on the
    computer was a female connector like a PC parallel port.

    --
    heavy, adj.:
    Seduced by the chocolate side of the force.

  7. Re: portable external 5.25" floppy disk drive

    no.spam@no.uce.bellatlantic.net wrote:

    (snip)

    > Or like the FDC (ISA 8bit) for older PC that has a DB25 on the rear
    > for an external drive that is otherwise vanilla disk IO save for the
    > use of DB25.


    Ones I used to have (probably still have) have a 37 pin D
    connector. I believe with the usual 34 pins, and three unused,
    unless power also comes through.

    -- glen


  8. Re: portable external 5.25" floppy disk drive

    *lynchaj* wrote on Wed, 07-08-15 02:06:
    >I do not know for certain it is a parallel port only that it appears to
    >be one.


    As far as I know there is no way to draw power from a parallel port. In
    the other direction there is a pin assigned for supplying 5 V *from*
    the printer or other external device but on the host side all you have
    is a TTL high, i.e. nothing at all.


  9. Re: portable external 5.25" floppy disk drive

    On Aug 15, 7:45 am, Axel_Ber...@b.maus.de (Axel Berger) wrote:
    > *lynchaj* wrote on Wed, 07-08-15 02:06:
    >
    > >I do not know for certain it is a parallel port only that it appears to
    > >be one.

    >
    > As far as I know there is no way to draw power from a parallel port. In
    > the other direction there is a pin assigned for supplying 5 V *from*
    > the printer or other external device but on the host side all you have
    > is a TTL high, i.e. nothing at all.


    I seem to recall other 3.5" floppy disks being interfaced to the
    parallel port which did not require a power supply to operate.
    However, it was a long time ago so I am somewhat hesitant to put too
    much certainty along with the statement.

    In the case of the EF360U, I am not 100% certain it is even a parallel
    port interface to begin with which is why I said it only *APPEARS* to
    be one since the connector is similiar. Without the manual, I do not
    think we will ever know for certain short of reverse engineering it.

    It is possible the EF360U is not parallel port based and requires a
    special adapter card or cable. Hopefully someone with the manual or
    technical data can chime in and say for sure. To be honest, I do
    wonder how just a DOS driver through a parallel port could simulate
    the function and timing of a NEC765 FDC through. The complexity of the
    software required tends to bias me against the EF360U as a simple
    parallel port interface.

    Although we have not heard from the original poster (Tim Lake) in this
    thread, I suspect a parallel port solution, even if it required a
    power supply, would likely solve the problem. Personally, I hope the
    EF360U approach could be of some help in solving this general
    problem. However, I think the best solution for me is to just use an
    old PC with 5.25" floppy drives and a MatchPoint PC or Catweasel.

    Best of luck and Thanks!

    Andrew Lynch


  10. Re: portable external 5.25" floppy disk drive

    lynchaj@yahoo.com wrote:

    > On Aug 15, 7:45 am, Axel_Ber...@b.maus.de (Axel Berger) wrote:
    >>*lynchaj* wrote on Wed, 07-08-15 02:06:
    >>>I do not know for certain it is a parallel port only that it appears to
    >>>be one.


    >>As far as I know there is no way to draw power from a parallel port. In
    >>the other direction there is a pin assigned for supplying 5 V *from*
    >>the printer or other external device but on the host side all you have
    >>is a TTL high, i.e. nothing at all.


    > I seem to recall other 3.5" floppy disks being interfaced to the
    > parallel port which did not require a power supply to operate.
    > However, it was a long time ago so I am somewhat hesitant to put too
    > much certainty along with the statement.


    > In the case of the EF360U, I am not 100% certain it is even a parallel
    > port interface to begin with which is why I said it only *APPEARS* to
    > be one since the connector is similiar. Without the manual, I do not
    > think we will ever know for certain short of reverse engineering it.


    The SMSC 37C669, which I have been using as a reference for the
    floppy controller in the USB/floppy chip, has an interesting feature.

    One of the ports can be either parallel or floppy. One could, then,
    design a floppy drive with a 25 pin connector that would go onto a
    special switchable port. That port could supply +5V for the floppy,
    hopefully on a pin not used for the parallel port. It would be
    specific for that machine, not generally usable one parallel ports,
    but that might be useful for some laptops.

    -- glen


  11. Re: portable external 5.25" floppy disk drive

    glen herrmannsfeldt wrote:
    [...]
    > The SMSC 37C669, which I have been using as a reference for the
    > floppy controller in the USB/floppy chip, has an interesting feature.
    >
    > One of the ports can be either parallel or floppy. One could, then,
    > design a floppy drive with a 25 pin connector that would go onto a
    > special switchable port. That port could supply +5V for the floppy,
    > hopefully on a pin not used for the parallel port. It would be
    > specific for that machine, not generally usable one parallel ports,
    > but that might be useful for some laptops.


    Yup. There were laptops that did, indeed, do exactly this (probably usingthe
    same controller chip!). You could specify whether you wanted the 25-pin port
    to be printer or floppy in the BIOS.

    --
    ┌── dg*cowlark.com ─── http://www.cowlark.com ──────────────── ──

    │ "There does not now, nor will there ever, exist a programming language in
    │ which it is the least bit hard to write bad programs." --- Flon's Axiom

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